NSF Grant Updates Science Buildings – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

NSF Grant Updates Science Buildings

The size and scope of the Colleges’ summer student research program has grown from a handful of undergraduates working with a few faculty in the late 1990s, to more than 60 students working with nearly 30 faculty, on average. When some of the buildings in which the research takes place were constructed, there was little to no summer research program – nor the need for sophisticated cooling systems. Now, the Colleges have received a federal grant totaling $1.087 million for the science facilities from the National Science Foundation. The funding will support an upgrade of the Eaton/Lansing science complex’s temperature control system.

“The most telling evidence of the strength of an HWS education in science is the success of our students, a growing number of whom have received national recognition and have participated in a variety of competitive programs,” explains Provost and Dean of the Faculty Teresa Amott. “We appreciate that the NSF recognized our rigorous science programs and the many opportunities they present to undergraduate student researchers.”

With the improved cooling system, the intensive summer student research season will be providing students with a more robust research experience.  The Eaton/Lansing complex includes 35 research labs and five research and teaching labs. The buildings house support staff, supplies, laboratories and offices of faculty across the science disciplines: biology, chemistry, environmental studies, geoscience, math and computer science, and physics. By being better able to regulate the temperature of those spaces, the research faculty will be able to fully utilize instrumentation that has exacting temperature tolerances, improve the storage of sensitive materials and extend work hours throughout the summer months – with improved energy efficiency.

In the last five years, HWS science students have received a Rhodes Scholarship, a Gates Scholarship, Goldwater Scholarships, American Chemical Society Scholarships, UNCF/Merck Fellowship, a Fulbright Fellowship, and several other prestigious, competitive awards. Additionally, they have acquired internships or fellowships with the FBI, the EPA, Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline, among others. HWS students regularly go on to graduate school at nationally-ranked institutions such as Yale, Columbia, Oxford, Cornell, Boston College, Notre Dame, Johns Hopkins, Dartmouth, UC Santa Barbara, and Carnegie Mellon universities.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2010, its budget is about $6.9 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives over 45,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes over 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards over $400 million in professional and service contracts yearly.